Obligated to tenant?

Question from Matthew updated on 29th March 2013:

We have a rental house in the Bay of Plenty. It was for sale and empty of tenants. After no sale, we instructed an agent to withdraw it from the market so we could rent it out again. One week after a new tenent occupied the house, we received and accepted sale of house. Tenant was then given 42-days notice and is now demanding compensation for moving costs, letting fees, etc. What are my obligations?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), a landlord is required to notify tenants (or prospective tenants) if the property is on the market at the time it is being offered as available for letting, or if it is placed on the market for sale at any time during the tenancy. Failure to meet this obligation may be a breach of the Act. Where an offer is made on a property, without the property actually being on the market, landlords should discuss the matter with the tenants highlighting the unforeseen circumstances. If either party is unsure as to whether or not the landlord has met their obligations under the Act, either party may make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal for a decision on the matter. To discuss your situation further, or for information about landlord or tenant obligations, you can visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Building Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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